Adrenaline junkies take note — Oceania is the place to spike your heart rate and push your limits. Adventure sports have that kind of edge that make spending time in the great outdoors sound more like embarking on a secret mission where you don’t know all the key players, and actually, when you think about it, that’s exactly what it is.
These high-intensity sports put you out there, spark your desire for new experiences and make you crave for the next time you’re going to get a taste of ultimate freedom—it’s the perfect antidote for any kind of humdrum feelings about your normal world, and what better place to do it than Australia?
With killer landscapes — from deserts, mountain crags, to deep oceans and river valleys — Australia is home to more than just one off-roading, high-flying, deep diving adventure, and my list is the key to getting the best adventure sports holidays under your belt as quickly as possible. Don’t know if the extreme sports are for you? Read on, and see if I haven’t made a junkie of you by the end of it!
1. Mountain Biking at Emu Creek Retreat
Emu Creek Retreat is for the steadfast of heart; the off-road park mixes the best of the outdoor with the adrenaline junkie favorite, mountain biking.
I like to take my wheels with a little camping, which is exactly how Emu Creek likes it too. With trail rides, mountain bike downhill riding, 4×4, buggies and cabins, it’s more than just a dip into the outdoors for a wild ride; it’s an entire break from the outside world. Unplug yourself from the phone connections, social media apps and dregs of your everyday for an adventure deep into New South Wales (but not too deep, it’s only an hour and twenty minutes from Lismore).
2. Hang Gliding in Sydney
I’m a big fan of Sydney. It’s definitely one of my favorite cities in the world, and it just gets better with the opportunity to hang glide.
When it comes to my experience with the sport, I knew right away that I was going to want to be able to take my adventures solo, so I worked with Sydney Hang Gliding Centre to get me where I wanted to be: soaring through the skies like a bird, like a plane and also like Superman (in my mind!). They have a two week course that starts you out tandem and then progresses you to solo, which is exactly what a scared beginner like me needed. But if you’re one for taking the dive with a friend, there’s lots of opportunities to create your dream flight and get the pictures to prove it as well!
3. Bungee Jumping in Queensland
Do giant bungee swings and tall bungee towers seem like a good time to you? Then to Queensland with you! Bungee jumping is one of my favorite things to do—that stomach drop from freefalling has absolute no counterpart in this world—and it’s one of the best things to do in Queensland as a backpacker.
My favorite place to jump into nothing is with AJ Hackett Cairns. It’s a place that’s in a couple of different places around the world so you feel pretty safe tying up your feet and giving in to gravity. Not only have I jumped with them in Queensland but also over the beautiful green hills of Normandy—it gets better every time!
4. Scuba Diving in Great Barrier Reef
No Australian adventure or must-do list is complete without at least one mention of watersports, and this list is no different because scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef is widely considered to be on the top 10 of everyone’s bucket list.
The only living structure that can be seen from outer space, Queensland’s deep dive spots in the Great Barrier Reef mean plenty of extraordinary experiences with fish, coral and shipwrecks at your fingertips. The SS Yongala, Heron Island, Osprey Reef and the Ribbon Reefs are great places to begin your adventure, and I only have a couple pieces of advice.
First, if you’re an avid photographer, I suggest studying up on how best to capture underwater pictures before your dive, and second, I suggest going between December and February (it’s Australia’s summer time) when the water is warmest and clearest. But the best news by far is it’s always a great time to act like you’re living a Finding Nemo scene.
5. Rock Climbing on Tasmania Island
Just South of Melbourne is a verifiable oasis for rock climbers on Tasmania Island, and if you’re serious about the sport, the granite sea cliff climbing at Freycinet, the Dolerite crags at Launceston’s Cataract Gorge and the really steep cliffs at Adamsfield are going to be a dream come true for you.
Depending on whether you want to make it a remote climb (Frenchmans Cap will take you deep into the island) or stay close to civilization with a point of climbs near hubs Launceston and Hobart, you can immerse yourself into the rock face as resolutely (or as temporarily) as you prefer. But one thing is for certain, no matter which way you climb; this unique island is going to offer up the most spectacularly beautiful views that you won’t be able to see anywhere else in the world.
Pro-tip: My last recommendation before you head off is if you’re a foreign traveler in Australia, it’s best to make sure you can access all the maps, on and offline, whenever you need to. This is especially important if you’re planning on taking some of the trails on your own (because it’s better to be safe than 127 Hours!) Make sure your data is working everywhere, or get a local SIM card for one time use, and a Virtual Private Network to disable any geoblocking that might prohibit you from accessing local maps and emergency hotlines, and you’re good to go on your next adventure!
Whether you’re deep into extreme sporting or are just deciding whether or not to take the leap, Australia is a great place to flex your adventure wings and take the final dive into these great activities. I wish you luck on your next adventure!
All pictures are Public domain licensed pictures.
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